Latinos - it’s time to caucus

BY BRENDA PHONGSAVANH

Latino Caucus Chair

Iowa Democratic Party

On Feb. 5th, Iowans will once again come together to caucus. The purpose of the caucuses in a mid-term election year is to select delegates and alternate delegates to the County convention and to discuss the issues that are central to every community represented that night.

For too long, the Latino Community has been ignored – or outright discriminated against (looking at you, Congressman Steve King) – by politicians here in Iowa. I, for one, have had enough. We are here. We are an important part of this state, and we deserve the same representation as everyone else.

Decisions that will impact our lives are happening every day, and there are so many tools at our disposal to insert ourselves in to that conversation, but, until now, we haven’t been using them as effectively as we can.

It’s not enough for us to just show up on Election Day every four years. That’s why this year, we need to make sure that the Latino community is heard on Caucus night. 

We must use this opportunity to build a culture of participation. Decisions are made by the people who consistently show up and make their opinions known.

The caucuses are an incredibly unique event in our state where you don’t have to be an elected official, a community leader, or have a lot of money to have a voice. Every registered voter over 18 can participate. Everyone can make a difference.

Here’s how to participate:

Make sure you’re registered to vote and registered with the Party with whom you want to caucus. You can do so with your local county registrar.

Find your caucus location. The Iowa Democrats have provided this tool to help you locate your caucus.

Make a plan to get to the caucuses on the evening of Monday, Feb. 5th. Caucuses start at 7 p.m., and you can contact your local county party to find out when Registration opens.

This is our chance to show the politicians of our Iowa that we will no longer be ignored. At the caucuses, you can speak out about the schools in your community, the wages and jobs you need to support your families, and the absurd lack of progress in D.C. around immigration.  

I don’t think I have to tell you that it has never been more important for our voices to be heard. I know it may be difficult, scary even, in these times to speak out, but it’s the only way our community will move forward. We are American citizens; our voices have power.